Lovage (Featuring Mike Patton) Live In Cambridge, MA

By Mike Gauthier, Pure Rock Patroller
Saturday, January 19, 2002 @ 9:17 AM

Lovage Live At The Middle East

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Lovage is not really the type of "band" you'd normally see reviewed on KNAC.COM. First of all, it's not really a band - it's more of a project run by Dan "The Automator" Nakamura of Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School fame. Second, the music is a mix of lounge, hip-hop, techno and comedy that has more in common with Barry White than with Great White (or any of the legendary "white" bands for that matter). Third, there's no electric guitar and no live drummer. All the beats are electronic and the guitar is all-acoustic, played by a guy who spent half the show dressed in a Spider Man suit.

So, why the hell am I reviewing this? Well, one of the vocalists is none other than Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk). One of the things I realized after being a FNM fan for years and witnessing a Tomahawk show in Los Angeles was that I should NEVER MISS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MIKE PATTON LIVE. I could listen to this guy sing names out of a phonebook. He has an amazing, original, inventive, weird and wonderful voice. He is a captivating performer. I haven't always been a fan of the direction he has chosen to go with his talents, but I respect his abilities immensely. Lovage certainly isn't an act that I would go see were it not for Patton's involvement. That being said, I am glad I did go.

The show began with the DJ, Kid Koala, scratching the intro "Ladies Love Chest Rockwell" and went right into "Take Me Home, both from the album Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By. Patton's cohort on vocals is a lady by the name of Jennifer Charles, who impressed with her voice and her drop-dead sex appeal. They fed off one another to create a sexual energy that I would've felt guilty watching - if I hadn't had so much to drink. How graphic did it get? They traded orgasmic screams in "Sex (I'm A)" and "Stroker Ace" that would've made Jenna Jameson jealous. The interplay between the two was seamless; trading the lines "You are the bitter, I am the sweet. You are the griddle, I am the meat" in "Book of the Month" was a particular shining moment. The highlight of the show, however, had to be the encore cover of Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule's "I'm Real" - a song I'd normally skip over faster than you can say "J Lo. Patton showed just how awful a singer Ms. Lopez is by mocking her parts perfectly, while Jennifer Charles nailed Ja Rule's parts. That alone was worth the price of admission.

There were also some comedic interludes during which Kid Koala scratched in a way that would make DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit and DJ Cockeye from Incubus run to the hills (had to work in a little Maiden reference, sorry). One involved Patton walking through the crowd whipping fans with a riding crop while another had him brushing some teeth with a very old toothbrush. Meanwhile, the whole time Dan The Automator just stood by, sipping some brandy and watching his creation rock out. With no small thanks to one Michael Patton.

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